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Am J Health Syst Pharm. 1998 Dec 1;55(23):2485-99.

The Kaiser Permanente/USC Patient Consultation Study: change in use and cost of health care services.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033, USA.


The impacts of three alternative models of pharmacist consultation on the use and cost of health care services were studied. Two studies were conducted concurrently in an HMO over two years. In one, 6000 patients were randomly assigned to one of three consultation models; in the other, the three models were implemented in six geographic regions of California (4600 patients). The models were (1) consultation about new or changed prescriptions as mandated by state law (state model), (2) consultation focused on selected high-risk ambulatory care patients (Kaiser Permanente [KP] model), and (3) a control model. The patients were surveyed three times about their health status and satisfaction, and computerized data on health care use and cost were collected. The effect of the consultation models on the use and cost of health care services was examined across five risk groups that were based on drug-use profiles. An additional 37,750 patients (10% of the patients residing in the areawide study sites) were included in a supplemental analysis of the use and cost of health care services. There was no indication in the random-assignment study that pharmacist consultations affected either drug costs or the cost of office visits. Similar results were found in the areawide study, with the exception that the KP model was associated with lower drug costs than the control model. In the 10% sample, the KP model appeared to be associated with lower office visit costs but higher drug costs. Both models were associated with a lower likelihood of a hospital admission and with lower total health care costs for some high-risk patients compared with the control model. Counseling patients about their medications may be unlikely to reduce medication costs or the cost of office visits but may reduce the likelihood of hospital admissions and the overall costs of health care services; a combination of counseling patients at high risk for drug-related problems and counseling all patients about any new or changed prescription should be considered.

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